NEW AFGHAN POLICY


ALI SUKHANVER

ali_sukhanver Subjected to the law and order conditions in the coming years, the US authorities have decided to begin the withdrawal of their forces from Afghanistan by the mid of 2011.This news might have been a ray of hope and happiness for the distressed people of the region if it were not accompanied by another reference indicating the arrival of new American troops in Afghanistan. As announced by President Obama at least 30000 more soldiers will be deployed in Afghanistan by the end of this year. On the other hand Gordon Brown, the British prime minister has announced the arrival of an additional 500 U.K. troops in southern Afghanistan next month. That would bring the British force to 10,000. The U.S commitment in Afghanistan is not open-ended; the philosophy behind sending new troops is nothing but a sincere attempt of training Afghan forces to take over the fight and allow American troops to leave , says the White House. President Obama has assured that his new Afghan Policy will put the U.S on a path toward ending the war, but no exact timetable could be offered in this regard.

 

President Obama seems very much conscious and worried about the expected role of Taliban and Al-Qaida in the Afghanistan of tomorrow. His statements regarding his new Afghan Policy show that he has some hidden fears regarding the so-called concealed relationship between Pakistan and the Islamic extremists; but in his entire policy statements one never finds any reference to the intriguing role of India. God knows better if it is an intentional ignorance or misconception based on misunderstanding of the day light facts. It would have been much better if the honourable President Obama had taken some precautionary measures keeping in view the role of India in the future Afghanistan also. India would be the actual root cause of all disturbances in Afghanistan when the US troops have with drawn from there.

 

In the last few years, under the kind support of President Karzai, India has very successfully tried to involve herself in every walk of life in Afghanistan. Although this process of involvement is not a newly started venture, yet in the past few years it expedited in a more violent manner. India is now one of Afghanistan’s top six donors. Not only in the field of economic support, but also in all other possible sections of political and non-political relationship, we find India swiftly stepping forward. But it would be a folly to name this relationship the Indo-Afghan friendship; it is simply the India-Karzai relationship. No Karzai, no friendship. The Afghan president is acting as a spokesman of India. In commemoration to his services he was awarded the Indra Gandhi Prize for Peace and International Understanding. Since 2001 till now, the government of India has transferred billions of dollars to the official accounts of the Afghan government in the name of rehabilitation work in Afghanistan. On the basis of this economic support India virtually started undertaking projects in all parts of Afghanistan in collaboration with the Afghan government. In a variety of sectors including road transportation, airlines, health, education, police, judiciary, agriculture, industry, information technology and broadcasting, the Indian involvement can be easily noticed. Making the Afghan government realize that the local Afghan people don’t have sufficient ability to utilize the donated dollars, the Indian government planned to send its own citizens for working on different projects in Afghanistan. For this purpose, such projects were selected in which a large number of workers were required. Indra Gandhi Institute of Child Health was also one of these selected projects. In august, 2002, India announced US $ 4 Million for the rehabilitation of this child health institute. Later on an additional grant of US $ 100,000 was approved for the same project in the next year. It was in June 2003, when the government of India asked for a permission from the government of Afghanistan to hand over the rehabilitation work of this health unit to the Central Public Works Department of India. Permission was granted and ultimately a huge procession of Indian citizens landed in the war-stricken valleys of Afghanistan. Doctors, nurses, technicians, and so many others including the paramedical staff and the trainers; and most of them were the agents of Raw in disguise. Since Afghanistan is continuously in a state of war, there is no check and balance over the foreigners; it proved very easy for them to mix up in the social fiber. Some of them succeeded in seeping into the Taliban groups which have been fighting against the US invasion in Afghanistan since long.  Most of these agents of Raw, imported from India, had nothing to do with Islam or Islamic extremism because they were Hindus not Muslims. It was because of their skillful and masterly training that the Taliban could not recognize their reality.  These agents under the garb of Indra Gandhi Health Institute Workers very successfully took care of the Indian interests in Afghanistan. Moreover their presence in Afghanistan provided the Indian government a solid ground for opening so many consulates along the Pak-Afghan borders. To run these consulates India once again got a chance of sending new agents of Raw in guise of the consulate-staff.  The story behind the Indra Gandhi Institute of Child Health is just a single page from a huge book of conspiracies; the whole book reading would require a lot of time. What is going to happen when there is no USA in Afghanistan? Would the Islamic extremist be ready to permit India gain a total control over the Afghan society? Will the Taliban forget the supporting role of India for Russia during the Russian attempt of Afghan occupation? So many questions are eager to be answered. The dream of a peaceful Afghanistan can never be realized unless Indian involvement is ‘excavated’ from there. Although President Obama has tried to put India aside in his recently announced Afghan Policy yet the situation demands more in this context. 

 

It is also in the air that Obama’s decision of withdrawal of forces from Afghanistan is in fact the result of increasing pressure of the American civil society. America is at present passing through the worst stages of its deteriorating economy. The Afghan war has proved itself a white elephant for the American social and financial set up. Increasing unemployment rate and the rumors of imposing new taxes on the American public in the name of war are not less than an earth quake for the ever prosperous people of America. But in spite of all these bitter realities, it would be an injustice if America quits Afghanistan handing it over to the cruel hands of India. If America is truly sincere in its withdrawal from Afghanistan, it must plan to minimize the Indian influence from the Afghan society before leaving. The Indian presence in Afghanistan would not only shatter the dream of desired peace in Afghanistan but also prove poisonous for Pakistan.

The writer is a Pakistan based bilingual analyst on national and international strategic and defense affairs.

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